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Sense of Space

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Sense of Space

This is an exercise in finding the "sweet spot" for recording acoustic guitars in my studio.
Like most here I'm working in a small space. I'm fortunate to have a dedicated Studio, but
the "vocal booth" is about the size of a small bedroom. And with the walls full of 703, its tight!

What I'm trying to do is get a real sense of space in the recording.

This a simple composition, 3 guitars, bass, a little percussion. I've been "close" micing my acoustics,
with additional gobos behind the mic (the secondary guitars were done this way). But, I much
prefer ribbon mics, in a Blumlein Pair, and have moved out into the center of the room and ditched
the gobos. This is how I have done it in the past when space permits.

All comments, kind or not (I'm thick skinned!) will be much appreciated.

Tom

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The acoustic guitar sounds great, (I'm listening through AKG headphones).

I thought it was a very pleasant mix - perhaps to my ears I would have preferred the lead guitar to be a bit softer - just my opinion.

 

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Yeah , I think you created some real sounding space without leaning hard on reverbs. It did sound like a small room but not like a padded up room you're recording in. I agree with Douglas on the center guitar volume , I believe I would pan it slightly to the right and lengthen the reverb tail .  I did feel like I was  in the room with you ,  it's hard for me to get that much realism.  Enjoyed it    Thanks ..  mark

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2 hours ago, Douglas Kirby said:

perhaps to my ears I would have preferred the lead guitar to be a bit softer

 

54 minutes ago, mark skinner said:

I agree with Douglas on the center guitar volume

Thank you both for the listen and your kind words. Maybe a case of "more me" by the mix engineer?
Mark, this is a stereo recording, but I did have to "balance" the two signals, maybe still a bit stronger on the right.
I just threw that "Massive" preset on verb buss, I have lots (too many) of verbs...

Tom

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With regard to the mix, I think it's rather clinical, however I believe you mixed this work to have that 'clean' sound in mind.

For me I would keep the mix as is but try some compression with a reduced ( very slight) attack time and using a bit of soft knee to reduce the harshness of the lead acoustic, as said it wouldn't hurt to increase the reverb tail a tad but hay ho!

That's all I have ( excellent playing BTW 👂 )

Steve

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@DeeringAmps I enjoyed it Tom, it sounds quite pleasant on the Event 20/20's, not got the whole studio running today, there is a little harshness on the lead guitar but it is not enough to concern the average listener.

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As an average listener, I would say it is a successful experiment.  I see that you are the type that is meticulous about your craft.  You are a seeker, see and ye shall find.

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Well you are casting about for mix thoughts, but first I would say, the "space" sounds really great.

For me, it's the acoustic noodlement panned wide that should be dropped a tad in volume, particularly when the center lead guitar is playing. That center lead is a little prounounced in the attack of the initial transient, but honestly I didn't mind it at all. Really cool playing, without a crapton of fret and fingernoise. Nice.

Good luck - I'd say you captured it all very cleanly so that's 90% of the battle right there.

 

cheers,

-Tom

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Many thanks to each of you, I've "tagged" each of your posts with a "thanks" (that is proper forum etiquette these days: right?).
I will only quote Tom above "without a crapton of fret and fingernoise".
That's not my fault, other than string choice; I am NOT a finesse player!
eft16.jpg
As you can hear the "Flat Tops" do a good job of reducing string noise, however they don't last long, and are about double the cost.
The "G" went south yesterday, "buzzing" the whole length of the fret board, at first I thought I had a little "back bow" and it was "fret buzz".
But a quick trip to a local shop and all was well. (can you believe I didn't have a set of 12-53's in the house?)
I really did only minimal automation on the solo track and just a bit of CA-2A on the busses for some "glue".
I was really after trying to put that solo guitar in a "bigger" space, I think it doesn't sound like a "bedroom" recording.
Again my sincerest thanks to one and all, I'll keep you up to date on my "quest".

Tom

just a note, there's a thread upstairs "how do I make my acoustic sound professional"; there's a link to this video
How to Record and Mix Acoustic Guitar
Some good stuff there...

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I thought the tones were great and you had good separation of instruments.  I noticed you taking a big breathe early on.   I have that problem every time I record acoustics. LOL

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2 hours ago, Pete Laramee said:

.  I noticed you taking a big breathe early on.

Pushing these 12’s around is hard work!

You must have listened pretty carefully. I comped those last two arpeggios, other than the fade in and out, and a bit of automation, I didn’t wrestle with the track a bunch. If I just put up the solo someone would dial 911 thinking I was gasping for breath. 😉

T

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As average listener Number (#) 2 responding, I would say that it sounds pretty darn good.  As an incompetent in this mixing/mastering/studio-set-up stuff, I won't and can't offer any suggestions.  However, I do admire those that can handle it!!!

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You're clearly way more knowledgeable about recording/mixing than I am but the guitars sound great to me. Kudos on the string gauges. I think the heavier strings sound better but there's always the trade-off between tone and playability. Anyway, in my opinion, your exercise was a success.

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I think you did a great job of capturing the guitar with both, the sparkle and the body of it. That's pretty difficult without a lot of practice and a real decent mic. Usually, acoustics tend to sound all boxy if you aren't careful, but you avoided that very well.

If you care what I think beyond the point of your experiment, then I would say that a little compression of the lead wouldn't hurt. just to smooth out some very slight abrasiveness, and the L/R guitars, IMO, would work better if they were either pushed back a hair, or they played the same thing together. It was slightly distracting to have the mix shift from side to side in the parts where the L/R guitars were quiet separately, with the lead the only thing holding the middle.

Dan

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Freddy and Geeare thank you both for the kind words.

1 hour ago, dcumpian said:

If you care what I think

Dan, certainly I care, and much appreciate you taking the time to give me some constructive feedback.
Evidently I will have to go back and work on the mix with an eye (ear) toward a "finished" piece.
I labored over mic placement and, you may have noticed my comments at the end, learning the piece.
As you said, capturing an acoustic can be "challenging", especially in a small room. Often the better the
signal chain, the more "bad room" you get, at least that has been my experience...

Again many thanks to all of you who took the time to listen and leave comments.

Tom

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 Tom , Thanks for posting this. I'm starting a new one that really needs some better sounding natural sounding acoustics.  I  really need to Stop and spend some time on experimenting with the sound , instead of feeling rushed and just jumping in and start recording. You made me exhale a little slowly and start thinking again.           mark

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Tom
Well I didn't follow all the technical stuff you're doing and I don't know what a 703 is and I can't offer advice on compression but I like the song,  so I'll just say that.

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8 hours ago, bjornpdx said:

I don't know what a 703 is

Owens Corning 703 is the super dense insulation often used in "sound proofing" (actually what you are trying to do is "absorb"
low end and low-mids, reducing "standing waves") studio spaces. In this case it is exposed to the room, in front of, not behind,
the drywall. You then cover it with fabric, John Sayers recommends covering it with plastic first so as to not absorb too much high end.
The result, especially in a small room, is that it is "tight" (claustrophobic); before the plastic went up it was a bit "unsettling" on
first visit to the project.

T

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